This week, our freshman Wildcats have thrown the writing rulebook out the window. No, these students aren’t refusing to capitalize or use commas; they are investigating how one-sided, unsupported arguments have been used to influence people’s thoughts and actions. Late last week, students dove into the fascinating realm of World War II propaganda. This topic has awoken the “communicators” Learner Profile characteristics in our IB learners. They have examined how Germans, Italians, Americans, and Japanese communicated through this medium and discussed what knowledge could be gained from such biased sources. From engaging with classics such as “Rosie the Riveter,” to some of the lesser-known anti-Nazi Disney films, students are building up both their critical thinking and communication skills. They have done so by practicing a critical social science technique; the OPVL, which— besides being Mr. Spooner, Mr. Hoover, and Ms. Seemann’s favorite letters— provides structure for students to analyze the origin, purpose, value, and limitations of a historical document.
After analyzing both primary source propaganda and secondary source articles on the causes of the war, students will begin mapping out the changes undergone by one of the most significant ideologies in recent history: Nazism. Working collaboratively via a choice of online mediums, students will research how this creed was communicated and put into action both before and after World War II.
Their ultimate goal for the unit will be to create a propaganda film in which they communicate their personal ideologies in an effort to spur their audience into action. Students will employ the editing techniques learned over the course of the unit, using music, visuals, and language to communicate their message and influence their communities for the better. We all look forward to viewing their final projects at the end of the unit!